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My Friend & Neighbour, ‘Drew Tuttle’ WINS The ‘Last Chance Boston Qualifier’ Marathon In Grand Rapids, MI.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


Click to ENLARGE.


WOW. WOW. WOW.

Coming FIRST in a marathon! And pretty impressive time too — 2 hours 40 minutes. Just 20 minutes shy of the winning time at the 2018 Boston marathon.

He is young. Very early 20s. I have known him since he was about 12.

I see him running most days. Sometimes I am also running, but he makes me look like I am walking backwards. Extremely thin and superbly fit. He would run 12 miles a day without thinking about it while I suffer running my 3.5 miles.

Family of exceptional runners — father & two sons; Drew the elder of the two. Father, John, is the long distance running coach at our local high school. He has run the Boston Marathon numerous times — including the year of the bombing. This year Drew will be running. I am so excited and happy.

I have talked to Drew about the Olympics. That might now be possible.

This is so great.

He runs by our house most mornings while I am still in bed. I know he is going by because the dogs go crazy.

This made my day.


Drew Tuttle

Drew Tuttle

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by Anura Guruge

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Had A Biasi B10/5, With Riello Burner, Installed In Central New Hampshire, Yesterday, For $5,800.

by Anura Guruge


Biasi B10/5 Riello burner New Hampshire Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. Website: qhtinc.com.




9 days ago I walked into our downstairs utility room and discovered a huge puddle of water under the ‘Smith Cast Iron‘ boiler. The damn thing, just 12-years old, had sprung a leak. When we finally took it apart yesterday we discovered that there were indeed two leaks and that one was a slow leak that had been there for quite a long time. Suffice to say, I was not amused.

My oil company, noted for their duplicity, could not wait to give me two ‘just-for-you‘ quotes. The first was $10,000 (to the dot) for a System 2000. The other was for $8,800 for a Biasi B10/4.

At that juncture I knew more about the Moon than I knew about boilers. I had never had one fail on me, and as such never had to get one.

But, as some of you know I am a quick learner when I have to be. And this warranted some serious research. So, I got cracking.

The System 2000, which looks like a futuristic spacecraft, is indeed the Cadillacs of boilers (though there is also a Rolls Royce). The System 2000 can have a 93% efficiency. But, they are expensive. The Biasi is 87% efficient.

A lot of people swear (in a good way) by the Biasi. It is a proven solution and the local HVAC guy I called for competing quote said that he has a Biasi at his house.

I checked and checked.

Discovered that the Biasi B10/4 that my duplicitous oil company was trying to foist on me was TOO SMALL for my needs. I needed the B10/5 which was at least $200 more. So, the oil company price was in the $9,000 range.

But, the oil company (and have I mentioned that they are duplicitous) was going to rip off everything I had — including water tank and 5 circulators — and put ‘new’ stuff in. But, there was nothing wrong with any of this stuff. Not even any stains. I did, however, need a new expansion tank.

The local HVAC guy, who I found on the Interweb, quoted me $5,800, fully installed, for a Biasi B10/5 with Riello burner and a new expansion tank. And that included hauling the old boiler away.

That seemed a fair price.

It was a full $3,000 lower than the duplicitous oil company quote for the SMALLER Biasi (i.e., B10/4 rather than B10/5). But, to be fair, it was not apples to apples since the duplicitous oil company was replacing everything (though I would not have been surprised if they used old components they obtained from a previous job). But, the local guys quote was still probably $1400 cheaper. Plus, he was a one-man shop and seemed decent enough.

Well it was installed Monday without too much drama – though we lost power halfway through. But, since I had both my generators going he had all the power needed.

So, far so good. It is not quiet. About as loud as the old unit. I gather the S2000 is whisper quiet.

Well, right now, I am NOT going to tell you the name of the local HVAC guy. If you want to know contact me. I want to wait a month or so to see that everything is hunky-dory with the install.

So, that is my story.

Plus, now, if you are looking for a price you know what I paid. I know the wholesale price for the Biasi B10/5 is around $2,200. But there is lot more bits needed than just the furnace and then there is the labor. It is a big job. Just moving the 500 pound boiler is no small task. And then there was also the old boiler and I gave them a hand moving that.

So, overall I think I did ‘OK’.


Heat flow in a 3-pass Biasi B10. Heats more than with a single-pass boiler.


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by Anura Guruge

The Soon To Be Available Samsung ‘Galaxy Active’ Smartwatch Will Measure Blood Pressure On The Wrist.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access the ‘Verge’ post which includes a video.


Click to access CNET article.


Heart rate monitoring is good. A must have and I am not sure I could now live without it.

ECG/EKG is cute, but it doesn’t seem to do much for I since I, to my amazement, appear to have a normal rhythm.

But, on the wrist blood pressure monitoring, with a smartwatch, is HUGE. I have always said I will get a smartwatch that will accurately measure blood pressure. This Samsung Galaxy Active appears to have it ALL for $199. It is crazy. GPS, sleep, AMOLED display, HR and blood pressure.

Now I did own a Samsung Frontier S3 but I didn’t use it much. Ended up selling it — for a decent price. But, the Galaxy Active might be different. Having blood pressure, on my wrist, 24×7, is hard to bypass.

Galaxy Active will NOT be available till March 8, 2019. There are NO reviews of the blood pressure feature as yet. I would like to see a couple of reviews. But, for that price I might just pre-order and if it does not work — return it.


My Garmin Fenix 5.

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by Anura Guruge

BLU VIVO XI+ Impressive, Near Flawless Android 8.1+ Smartphone At A Budget Price.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access Amazon product page for this smartphone.


I got this BLU VIVO XI+ 6.2″ phone for Teischan (12) at Christmas to replace her aging ASUS phone. So far it has exceed all expectations. She, an Android veteran and highly demanding, can’t find any faults with it. And this from someone, who just 2-months ago, returned a 10″ Android Tablet after 40-minutes saying it wasn’t good enough!

I too have been impressed. It seems as good as my Google Pixel 2 — but it is at least $200 cheaper. In a way, however, I am not surprised. I nearly bought a BLU, over a Pixel 2, at Christmas 2017. I was blown away by the specs. In the end I only ended up getting the Pixel 2 because Google gave me (an old and trusted customer) an offer I could not refuse.

Connecting to ‘Consumer Cellular‘ using her old SIM card from the ASUS was beyond a breeze. We just had to insert the SIM. That was all! No settings, no calls. BANG. It wsa ready to go. Caught us both by surprise.

Transferring settings and APPs from her old phone to the BLU was easy, quick and straightforward. After the phone was charged all of the set-up took less than 15-minutes — and some of that was fiddling around trying to extract SIM cards. She, impatient at best, was happy. And I was happy, that she was happy.

Its performance and video display meets (and I think exceeded) her demand and there has been not a single complaint about this $320 phone. I am so relieved. I didn’t want to spend $500 on a phone and she did not want a refurbished one. So, from what I can see I managed to get her a Google Pixel 2 ilk phone at a budget price.

I think she has the option to download Android 9 but I haven’t pushed her towards doing so. She is happy with Android 8.1 and I don’t really see if 9 will give her much for now.

Bottom line. We are both very impressed and happy with this phone. Recommend it HIGHLY.


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Search ‘Android’.


by Anura Guruge

The U.K. Gets Its First Conviction On A ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ (FGM) Case.

by Anura Guruge


Click for the ‘NPR’ original.


Click to ENLARGE and read. Dedication on my “Orgasms 101” book.


This is good news, but at the same time very sad and frustrating.

Yes, this mutilation of a then 3-year old girl, of African parents, happened in 2017. What is infuriating is that it is still happening, even in the U.K.

Getting convictions have been hard and it is likely that they would not have succeeded in the U.S.!

I am against any and all forms of bodily mutilation — whether it be circumcision, tattoos or piercings — even ear-piercing. I have refused to let my daughters get their ears pierced until they were 12 and old enough to know what they were doing. Actually, I would never consent to it, but they gang up on me. As for circumcision — I consider that child abuse. No parent has the right to circumcise their son. Period.

Well, given that I dedicated my 2015 “Orgasms 101” book to those trying to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), my stance on this is crystal clear. It is barbaric and I can’t even understand how a mother could do it.

This is but a painful first step. I just wish we could eradicate it …. Period.


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by Anura Guruge

Planning Ahead: Financial Tips for Disabled Individuals — By Patrick Young.

Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances–the outside world often either underestimates them or ignores their needs altogether. He created AbleUSA.info to offer helpful resources to people with disabilities and to provide advice on navigating various aspects of life as a person with disabilities.

Click to access.


This is the 3rd guest post by Patrick Young on this blog.


Planning Ahead: Financial Tips for Disabled Individuals

Image from Pixabay.com.

Disabled individuals comprise America’s largest minority group — just under 20 percent of the population, according to the National Disability Institute. Unfortunately, those people face significant obstacles, including (but not limited to) financial stability. Stable employment is often a problem for the disabled, as well, and they may accrue living expenses and often-fragile health circumstances that non-disabled people don’t face.

Financial assistance through public benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security may be affected when disabled individuals have too much in savings or other assets. It’s important to discuss your financial options with a financial planner or someone who understands the options that are available to you. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Savings, Tax Breaks, and More

A personal savings account is one of the best ways to provide for your future. Set aside a certain amount every month, have it automatically deducted and placed in an interest-bearing savings account, though it’s important to set aside a manageable amount. Take advantage of tax credits and benefits and use them to boost your savings, and don’t undervalue the many discounts available to disabled individuals from a number of organizations and businesses.

ABLE

ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) are accounts to which anyone may contribute up to a certain amount ($15,000) and can be set up by or on behalf of disabled individuals (as long as they became disabled before age 26). ABLE accounts don’t impact your eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income, and taxes aren’t taken out of distributions provided the money

is used for qualified disability expenses involving housing, transportation, education, health care expenses, assistive technologies, or financial management.

PASS

If you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Income and wish to save for a work-related objective, you may be eligible for funding through PASS (Plan to Achieve Self-Support). PASS allows you to save money if you’re working toward a degree, want job training, or wish to launch a new business. Note, however, that work-related goals include income that may reduce your Supplemental Security Income or SSDI benefits.

Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust offers a way to manage resources for disabled people without putting their government benefits at risk. Trust distributions have to be in the individual’s best interests and be solely for the beneficiary, who must have no other available resources.

Individual Development

Individual development accounts (IDA) are good options for disabled persons because they can earn two-to-one matches toward their savings objectives. Another benefit is that a funded IDA account allows a disabled individual to save money without worrying about losing Supplemental Security income benefits as a result.

Looking Ahead

It’s important to plan ahead and try to foresee health needs as you grow older. Medicare is a valuable resource for seniors but there are important needs/coverage gaps that can be a problem for older individuals. Supplemental coverage can help you cover expenses such as prescription medications with a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement insurance. Medicare Advantage plans help cover vision and dental benefits along with prescription costs.

Medicare Supplement insurance helps cover Medicare Part A and B copayments, deductibles, and certain out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private companies, but you can’t have a Medicare Supplement and Advantage plan concurrently.

Establishing financial stability is a lifelong endeavor, so the sooner you can get started planning and saving, the better for you and your loved ones. There are many ways for disabled individuals to save money, but it’s important to understand how different plans work and how they impact government benefits. If you’re not sure how it works, take the time to talk with a financial planner to make sure you get the most out of savings programs.

‘Durgin Park’, Boston — Last Day, Last Meal, January 12, 2019 — Yes, We Were THERE!

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.







The usual benu (being sold as a souvenir for $5) and the photocopied menu used today.



Yes, we were there and it was SPECIAL. Glad I made an effort to get down to ‘Quincy Market‘ for the DAY. Yes, it was poignant too. There are folks losing JOBS! The kind of elderly (i.e., MY AGE) waitress who served us, with aplomb, ‘Allison’, had been there for 20-years. She wasn’t too happy. I took care of her with my TIP. {Smile} And she smiled too when she saw it. There were hugs all over the place.

We got there early. It was likely to get MOBBED later in the day. We heard from folks that THEY (i.e., Durgin Park) ran out of food at 5pm last Sunday!

I knew they opened at 11:30am. So, I planned to be there for that. I expected a LINE and there was one, BUT it wasn’t as long as I had expected.

We left home at 8am! It was bitterly cold. We parked at the BostonMuseum of Science‘ (where we get discounted parking because we are members) by 9:40am. We took the MBTA to ‘Quincy Market’. We were there by around 10:15am. There was NO LINE. So, we ‘did’ the ‘Market’. ‘Faneuil Hall‘ was closed because of Trump’s Shutdown.

By 11am there was a line forming. We joined it at 11:15am. There were about 30 people ahead of us. Around 11:25 they opened the doors. They felt sorry for us. IT WAS COLD. They let 50 folks in. We were in that batch. The kitchen was not as yet open but you could start with drinks.

It was GOOD. Great atmosphere. Everybody was reminiscing.

It was WAY TOO early for I. I don’t normally have my first meal of the day till 1:40pm. So, I just ordered a few appetizers and even then we brought much of it home. But, no matter. What counted was that we were THERE.

I was never a regular patron. So, I can’t claim to have a special relationship with ‘Durgin Park’. But, I did go there, for dinner, for the first time 32-years ago. September 1986. I remember that. I have eaten there AT LEAST 10-times. Most likely more. So, I am not a total stranger either.

Well … another bit of history gone. But, I can say, with PRIDE, that I was THERE.

Flag flying upside down in the wind! Symbolic.


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by Anura Guruge


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